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An irked Rich Hill has a comebacker for Trump

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill celebrates after the last out in the top of the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of the World Series baseball game on Saturday in Los Angeles.

On the morning after President Trump ripped Dodgers manager Dave Roberts for removing Rich Hill with a four-run lead in the World Series, Hill did not thank Trump for standing up for him. Instead, Hill ripped Trump for his tweet.

And then Hill stood up for himself, saying his interest in telling Roberts to keep an eye on him was “an act of selflessness.”

Said Hill: “We need to change the narrative of this, where it’s being insinuated that I wanted to come out of the game.”

Hill at first breathed deeply and said little about the tweet, sent by Trump on a day when 11 people were slain in a mass shooting at a Pennsylvania synagogue.

“There was a mass shooting yesterday,” Hill said Sunday.

He expanded on his remark a few minutes later.

“I understand you’re watching the World Series, but there was a huge tragedy that happened and people will say what they want to say,” Hill said.

“The focus, in my opinion, of the president is to be on the country, and not on moves that are made in a World Series game.”

In explaining the decision to remove Hill, Roberts said that Hill had told him before the seventh inning to “keep an eye on me.” He said he never had heard Hill say anything similar during a game.

“You’re in the World Series,” Hill said Sunday. “You’re having an act of selflessness. When I say ‘keep an eye on me,’ I never said ‘tired.’ I never said I wanted to come out of the game. I’ve never, ever wanted to come out of a game. … I’m the ultimate competitor. I’ve never wanted to come out of a game.

“You’re thinking about the 25 guys, and understanding that if things get haywire out there, and saying, hey, if there is a better option coming out of the bullpen, I’m going to be on board with that, because of the gravity of the situation.

“To have an act of selflessness in this moment is what it’s all about. At the end of the day, the move was made, and it didn’t fall in our favor.”

On Sunday, Roberts expressed no regrets about the decision. He noted that he had not waved a relief pitcher into the game before Hill gave him the ball, although Hill said Roberts previously had never come to the mound without removing him.

“I think that any manager can leave a player, particularly a pitcher, in there until it doesn’t go well,” Roberts said. “And I think that that’s the easy thing to do.

“But when you have a conversation with a player that you’ve never had before in the dugout prior to going back out there, I think that’s telling. And when you go out to the mound and are given the ball after, with not signaling in, I think that’s telling as well.”

Roberts and Hill met Sunday morning to clarify the situation.

“Am I going to debate that Rich was competing and he gave everything he had? Absolutely not,” Roberts said. “It was a valiant effort, a tremendous effort and we didn’t get the job done. But from what I got, that led to my decision and it didn’t work out.”

Hill said he understood that Roberts might have taken from the “keep an eye on me” remark that the pitcher thought he was tiring. “Those were never words that came out of my mouth,” Hill said. “I understand the insinuation, but we can’t assume anything.

“It’s not that I want to come out of the game, I’m tired, none of that. You know what? Maybe I should have phrased it that way at the time.”

Asked if his decisions were based on his intuition or the data presented to him, Roberts said it’s a combination but ultimately on the former.

“Last night it was definitely on the gut,” Roberts said, “and it didn’t work out.”

Trump was far from the only person to criticize Roberts, even if he was the most famous, and Roberts said he did not put too much stock in any of it.

“There’s a lot of thoughts and opinions that people don’t have all the information, which is commonplace these days,” he said, “to cultivate opinions and get out there. So, for me, it’s noise, and I really haven’t paid too much attention to it.”

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